Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Tne Haneef bungle

This was part of an interesting read from the SMH opinion pieces...

Nothing is more important to Australia's security than public confidence in the Government's ability to make the right laws, and the ability of the police and the justice system to enforce them. That confidence has been sorely tested by the conduct of the case against Haneef, now on remand after appearing in court charged over an alleged connection with attempted terrorist bombings in London and Glasgow. The case against Haneef was not only weak, but contained serious errors of fact. On what we know, it would not surprise if Mr Bugg were to find it was so flimsy as to be no case at all.

Even if Mr Bugg decides the original case should proceed, serious questions will remain. How could the prosecution claim in court on the morning of July 14 that Haneef's SIM card had been found in the would-be bombers' vehicle at Glasgow Airport when federal police already knew it had not, and why was that error not corrected that day? Why were police interviews with Haneef misreported to the court in a way that incriminated Haneef? Was all this incompetence or something more sinister, and who was responsible, the police or the prosecution? Regardless of whether Haneef has a case to answer, the prosecution certainly does.

If Mr Bugg does not provide answers to why the case has been mishandled, others must. What is needed is a short, sharp inquiry. It should be conducted by either the Commonwealth Ombudsman or the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity which has oversight of the federal police. Presumably neither body would hold an inquiry while charges are pending against Haneef for fear of prejudicing the case. However, if the charges are dropped, an inquiry could - and should - proceed immediately.

Whatever the DPP decides about the court case, the Government appears determined to deport Haneef for reasons which it will not share with the public. There may be good reasons for keeping secret certain evidence concerning Haneef, but there is no such excuse for failing to expose the bungling to the strong light of day.

I for one am sick of the terrorist card being played again, seemingly without good reason. Let me know what you think.

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